Chopin and His World

The Bard Music Festival

Book 42
Princeton University Press
Free sample

A new look at the life, times, and music of Polish composer and piano virtuoso Fryderyk Chopin

Fryderyk Chopin (1810–49), although the most beloved of piano composers, remains a contradictory figure, an artist of virtually universal appeal who preferred the company of only a few sympathetic friends and listeners. Chopin and His World reexamines Chopin and his music in light of the cultural narratives formed during his lifetime. These include the romanticism of the ailing spirit, tragically singing its death-song as life ebbs; the Polish expatriate, helpless witness to the martyrdom of his beloved homeland, exiled among friendly but uncomprehending strangers; the sorcerer-bard of dream, memory, and Gothic terror; and the pianist's pianist, shunning the appreciative crowds yet composing and improvising idealized operas, scenes, dances, and narratives in the shadow of virtuoso-idol Franz Liszt.


The international Chopin scholars gathered here demonstrate the ways in which Chopin responded to and was understood to exemplify these narratives, as an artist of his own time and one who transcended it. This collection also offers recently rediscovered artistic representations of his hands (with analysis), and—for the first time in English—an extended tribute to Chopin published in Poland upon his death and contemporary Polish writings contextualizing Chopin's compositional strategies.


The contributors are Jonathan D. Bellman, Leon Botstein, Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, Halina Goldberg, Jeffrey Kallberg, David Kasunic, Anatole Leikin, Eric McKee, James Parakilas, John Rink, and Sandra P. Rosenblum. Contemporary documents by Karol Kurpiński, Adam Mickiewicz, and Józef Sikorski are included.

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About the author

Jonathan D. Bellman is professor of music history and literature and head of academic studies in music at the University of Northern Colorado. Halina Goldberg is professor of musicology at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and affiliate of the Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program, Slavic Languages and Literatures Department, Polish Studies Center, and Russian and East European Institute.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 15, 2017
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781400889006
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / Music
History / Europe / General
History / Social History
Music / Genres & Styles / Classical
Music / History & Criticism
Music / Individual Composer & Musician
Music / Instruction & Study / Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A rare look at the life and music of renowned Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

During his lifetime, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) was a composer whose work had great influence not only in his native Russia but also internationally. While he remains well-known in Russia—where many of his fifteen operas and various orchestral pieces are still in the standard repertoire—very little of his work is performed in the West today beyond Scheherezade and arrangements of The Flight of the Bumblebee. In Western writings, he appears mainly in the context of the Mighty Handful, a group of five Russian composers to which he belonged at the outset of his career. Rimsky-Korsakov and His World finally gives the composer center stage and due attention.

In this collection, Rimsky-Korsakov’s major operas, The Snow Maiden, Mozart and Salieri, and The Golden Cockerel, receive multifaceted exploration and are carefully contextualized within the wider Russian culture of the era. The discussion of these operas is accompanied and enriched by the composer’s letters to Nadezhda Zabela, the distinguished soprano for whom he wrote several leading roles. Other essays look at more general aspects of Rimsky-Korsakov’s work and examine his far-reaching legacy as a professor of composition and orchestration, including his impact on his most famous pupil Igor Stravinsky.

The contributors are Lidia Ader, Leon Botstein, Emily Frey, Marina Frolova-Walker, Adalyat Issiyeva, Simon Morrison, Anna Nisnevich, Olga Panteleeva, and Yaroslav Timofeev.


The Bard Music Festival

Bard Music Festival 2018
Rimsky-Korsakov and His World
Bard College
August 10–12 and August 17–19, 2018

Claude Debussy's Paris was factionalized, politicized, and litigious. It was against this background of ferment and change--which characterized French society and music from the Franco-Prussian War to World War I--that Debussy re-thought music. This book captures the complexity of the composer's restless personal and artistic identity within the new picture emerging of the musical, social, and political world of fin-de-siècle Paris.

Debussy's setting did not simply mold his style. Rather, it challenged him to define a style and then to revamp it again and again as he situated himself simultaneously via the present and the past. These essays trace Debussy's perpetual reinvention, both social and creative, from his earliest to his last works. They explore tensions and contradictions in his best-known compositions and examine lesser-known pieces that reveal new aspects of Debussy's creative appropriation from poetry, painting, and non-Western music.


The contributors reveal the extent to which Debussy's personal and professional lives were intertwined and sometimes in conflict. Belonging to no one group or class, but crossing many, Debussy abjured the orthodox. A maverick who reviled all convention and searched for a music that authentically reflected experience, Debussy balked at entering any situation--salons, musical societies, or factions--that would categorize and thus distort him. Because of this, music lovers still argue over the degree to which Debussy's music is Impressionist, symbolist, or even French. Aptly, the volume's editor reads Debussy's last works as a dialogue with himself that reflects his inherently pluralistic, paradoxical, negotiated, and ever-changing identity.


William Austin's description of Debussy as ''one of the most original and adventurous musicians who ever lived'' is often repeated. This book illustrates how right Austin was and shows why Debussy's unclassifiable art continues to fascinate and perplex his historians even as it enthralls new listeners. The contributors are Leon Botstein, Christophe Charle, John Clevenger, Jane F. Fulcher, David Grayson, Brian Hart, Gail Hilson-Woldu, and Marie Rolf.

Aaron Copland and His World reassesses the legacy of one of America's best-loved composers at a pivotal moment--as his life and work shift from the realm of personal memory to that of history. This collection of seventeen essays by distinguished scholars of American music explores the stages of cultural change on which Copland's long life (1900 to 1990) unfolded: from the modernist experiments of the 1920s, through the progressive populism of the Great Depression and the urgencies of World War II, to postwar political backlash and the rise of serialism in the 1950s and the cultural turbulence of the 1960s.

Continually responding to an ever-changing political and cultural panorama, Copland kept a firm focus on both his private muse and the public he served. No self-absorbed recluse, he was very much a public figure who devoted his career to building support systems to help composers function productively in America. This book critiques Copland's work in these shifting contexts.


The topics include Copland's role in shaping an American school of modern dance; his relationship with Leonard Bernstein; his homosexuality, especially as influenced by the writings of André Gide; and explorations of cultural nationalism. Copland's rich correspondence with the composer and critic Arthur Berger, who helped set the parameters of Copland's reception, is published here in its entirety, edited by Wayne Shirley. The contributors include Emily Abrams, Paul Anderson, Elliott Antokoletz, Leon Botstein, Martin Brody, Elizabeth Crist, Morris Dickstein, Lynn Garafola, Melissa de Graaf, Neil Lerner, Gail Levin, Beth Levy, Vivian Perlis, Howard Pollack, and Larry Starr.

Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953), arguably the most popular composer of the twentieth century, led a life of triumph and tragedy. The story of his prodigious childhood in tsarist Russia, maturation in the West, and rise and fall as a Stalinist-era composer is filled with unresolved questions. Sergey Prokofiev and His World probes beneath the surface of his career and contextualizes his contributions to music on both sides of the nascent Cold War divide.

The book contains previously unknown documents from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art in Moscow and the Prokofiev Estate in Paris. The literary notebook of the composer's mother, Mariya Grigoryevna, illuminates her involvement in his education and is translated in full, as are ninety-eight letters between the composer and his business partner, Levon Atovmyan. The collection also includes a translation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's unperformed stage adaptation of Eugene Onegin, for which Prokofiev composed incidental music in 1936.


The essays in the book range in focus from musical sketches to Kremlin decrees. The contributors explore Prokofiev's time in America; evaluate his working methods in the mid-1930s; document the creation of his score for the film Lieutenant Kizhe; tackle how and why Prokofiev rewrote his 1930 Fourth Symphony in 1947; detail his immortalization by Soviet bureaucrats, composers, and scholars; and examine Prokofiev's interest in Christian Science and the paths it opened for his music.


The contributors are Mark Aranovsky, Kevin Bartig, Elizabeth Bergman, Leon Botstein, Pamela Davidson, Caryl Emerson, Marina Frolova-Walker, Nelly Kravetz, Leonid Maximenkov, Stephen Press, and Peter Schmelz.

Since its first publication in 1990, Brahms and His World has become a key text for listeners, performers, and scholars interested in the life, work, and times of one of the nineteenth century's most celebrated composers. In this substantially revised and enlarged edition, the editors remain close to the vision behind the original book while updating its contents to reflect new perspectives on Brahms that have developed over the past two decades. To this end, the original essays by leading experts are retained and revised, and supplemented by contributions from a new generation of Brahms scholars. Together, they consider such topics as Brahms's relationship with Clara and Robert Schumann, his musical interactions with the "New German School" of Wagner and Liszt, his influence upon Arnold Schoenberg and other young composers, his approach to performing his own music, and his productive interactions with visual artists.

The essays are complemented by a new selection of criticism and analyses of Brahms's works published by the composer's contemporaries, documenting the ways in which Brahms's music was understood by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century audiences in Europe and North America. A new selection of memoirs by Brahms's friends, students, and early admirers provides intimate glimpses into the composer's working methods and personality. And a catalog of the music, literature, and visual arts dedicated to Brahms documents the breadth of influence exerted by the composer upon his contemporaries.

A rare look at the life and music of renowned Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

During his lifetime, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) was a composer whose work had great influence not only in his native Russia but also internationally. While he remains well-known in Russia—where many of his fifteen operas and various orchestral pieces are still in the standard repertoire—very little of his work is performed in the West today beyond Scheherezade and arrangements of The Flight of the Bumblebee. In Western writings, he appears mainly in the context of the Mighty Handful, a group of five Russian composers to which he belonged at the outset of his career. Rimsky-Korsakov and His World finally gives the composer center stage and due attention.

In this collection, Rimsky-Korsakov’s major operas, The Snow Maiden, Mozart and Salieri, and The Golden Cockerel, receive multifaceted exploration and are carefully contextualized within the wider Russian culture of the era. The discussion of these operas is accompanied and enriched by the composer’s letters to Nadezhda Zabela, the distinguished soprano for whom he wrote several leading roles. Other essays look at more general aspects of Rimsky-Korsakov’s work and examine his far-reaching legacy as a professor of composition and orchestration, including his impact on his most famous pupil Igor Stravinsky.

The contributors are Lidia Ader, Leon Botstein, Emily Frey, Marina Frolova-Walker, Adalyat Issiyeva, Simon Morrison, Anna Nisnevich, Olga Panteleeva, and Yaroslav Timofeev.


The Bard Music Festival

Bard Music Festival 2018
Rimsky-Korsakov and His World
Bard College
August 10–12 and August 17–19, 2018

Music in Chopin's Warsaw examines the rich musical environment of Fryderyk Chopin's youth--largely unknown to the English-speaking world--and places Chopin's early works in the context of this milieu. Halina Goldberg provides a historiographic perspective that allows a new and better understanding of Poland's cultural and musical circumstances. Chopin's Warsaw emerges as a vibrant European city that was home to an opera house, various smaller theaters, one of the earliest modern conservatories in Europe, several societies which organized concerts, musically active churches, spirited salon life, music publishers and bookstores, instrument builders, and for a short time even a weekly paper devoted to music. Warsaw was aware of and in tune with the most recent European styles and fashions in music, but it was also the cradle of a vernacular musical language that was initiated by the generation of Polish composers before Chopin and which found its full realization in his work. Significantly, this period of cultural revival in the Polish capital coincided with the duration of Chopin's stay there--from his infancy in 1810 to his final departure from his homeland in 1830. An uncanny convergence of political, economic, social, and cultural circumstances generated the dynamic musical, artistic, and intellectual environment that nurtured the developing genius. Had Chopin been born a decade earlier or a decade later, Goldberg argues, the capital--devastated by warfare and stripped of all cultural institutions--could not have provided support for his talent. The young composer would have been compelled to seek musical education abroad and thus would have been deprived of the specifically Polish experience so central to his musical style. A rigorously-researched and fascinating look at the Warsaw in which Chopin grew up, this book will appeal to students and scholars of nineteenth century music, as well as music lovers and performers.
Get more out of music with this essential guide

Music Theory For Dummies makes music theory easy to understand, with a friendly, unintimidating overview of everything you need to know to become fluent at knocking out beats, reading musical scores, and learning to anticipate where a song should go—whether you're reading someone else's music or writing your own. Whether you're a music student or a music lover, you'll learn to read, write, and understand music with this informative guide. With expert instruction, you'll put it all together as you compose, arrange, and create original melodies, harmonies, and chords of your own, with helpful tips for performing your pieces in front of an audience. This new third edition presents the most current teaching techniques, the newest music genres and examples, and updated information on all aspects of understanding, creating, and performing music.

Studies have shown that music training improves children's' verbal and spatial abilities, and it's been associated with cognitive and mathematical benefits in adults. The music job market is expected to increase over the coming years, and music theory is becoming an increasingly common part of education at all levels. Music Theory For Dummies provides the instruction you need to get more out of music than you ever thought possible.

Master major and minor scales, intervals, pitches, and clefs Understand basic notation, time signals, tempo, dynamics, and navigation Employ melodies, chords, progressions, and phrases to form music Compose harmonies and accompanying melodies for voice and instruments

Whether you intend to pursue a degree or career in music, or just enjoy listening to it, understanding the theory behind it gives you a whole new appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship behind the pieces that give you goose bumps. It's a mix of technical skill, inborn talent, and plenty of practice – and now you can try your hand at it, with Music Theory For Dummies.

Claude Debussy's Paris was factionalized, politicized, and litigious. It was against this background of ferment and change--which characterized French society and music from the Franco-Prussian War to World War I--that Debussy re-thought music. This book captures the complexity of the composer's restless personal and artistic identity within the new picture emerging of the musical, social, and political world of fin-de-siècle Paris.

Debussy's setting did not simply mold his style. Rather, it challenged him to define a style and then to revamp it again and again as he situated himself simultaneously via the present and the past. These essays trace Debussy's perpetual reinvention, both social and creative, from his earliest to his last works. They explore tensions and contradictions in his best-known compositions and examine lesser-known pieces that reveal new aspects of Debussy's creative appropriation from poetry, painting, and non-Western music.


The contributors reveal the extent to which Debussy's personal and professional lives were intertwined and sometimes in conflict. Belonging to no one group or class, but crossing many, Debussy abjured the orthodox. A maverick who reviled all convention and searched for a music that authentically reflected experience, Debussy balked at entering any situation--salons, musical societies, or factions--that would categorize and thus distort him. Because of this, music lovers still argue over the degree to which Debussy's music is Impressionist, symbolist, or even French. Aptly, the volume's editor reads Debussy's last works as a dialogue with himself that reflects his inherently pluralistic, paradoxical, negotiated, and ever-changing identity.


William Austin's description of Debussy as ''one of the most original and adventurous musicians who ever lived'' is often repeated. This book illustrates how right Austin was and shows why Debussy's unclassifiable art continues to fascinate and perplex his historians even as it enthralls new listeners. The contributors are Leon Botstein, Christophe Charle, John Clevenger, Jane F. Fulcher, David Grayson, Brian Hart, Gail Hilson-Woldu, and Marie Rolf.

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